GT5 Academy Demo Impressions

We got our hands on an early look at the Gran Turismo Academy Time Trial demo today. We had to be quick to get a look over it before the thing expires at midnight tonight but here at TSA we pull out as many stops as we can find to bring you the info you want. We’re even considering hiring a YTS trainee just to pull out stops for us. Here are my impressions and a little video I made to show you all that I’ve actually played it. Who else would admit to such a shocking lap?

My overall first impression is that this feels, once again, like Gran Turismo. It’s got that high-gloss shine to the menus and “elevator Jazz” backing music that either fades into obscurity or drives you insane within a few minutes. There seem to be a lot of loading screens and saving screens but none of them take particularly long to finish their business and get out of your way. You have one track, the Indy Speedway, and two variations of the Nissan 370Z to hammer around it – one street and one race tuned.

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I had a quick run around in the race tuned 370Z (my first lap, as evidenced by the extra caution and terrible timing is in the video below) and found it to be a bit skittish on the corners but generally it felt solid and well weighted. The steering was a little bit jumpy but given the limited range of an analogue stick that was probably inevitable.

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The testing I did with the street version of the car was another story. The backend steps out far too easily and there was a real lack of grip with all but the gentlest of bends. Despite being around fifteen seconds a lap slower than the race tuned model (even when I started to get the hang of it!) it felt a lot more twitchy and dangerous than its steroid-injected brother. This is most likely due to the N3 tyres that are locked on in this Time Trial preview and hopefully it indicates a good range of tuning options and some noticeable results from all that garage-based tinkering.

As you will hopefully be able to see from the quick video (which was my first lap around and then a replay of that lap using the game’s replay mode) things are looking very nice. There is a noticeable difference between in-game graphics and the replay visuals but given that this is an early demo of a game which is still not due to be released for around six months I think that we can forgive a few minor, performance-boosting differences.

Oh, and there’s no damage in this trial. At all. Hopefully that’s just an indication of how early a build this is.

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